WASHINGTON — The continuing genocide in Sudan's Darfur region was the world's worst human rights abuse last year, the United States said Tuesday.
"Too often in the past year we received painful reminders that human rights, though self-evident, are not self-enforcing," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in presenting the State Department's annual survey of human rights practices.
The State Department report blames the Sudanese military and proxy militia for the genocide in the Darfur region, where more than 200,000 have died. The report says atrocities continue, including some committed by indigenous rebels.
It says human rights conditions have worsened in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite U.S.-led efforts to combat Muslim extremists.
In Iraq, "both deepening sectarian violence and acts of terrorism seriously undercut human rights and democratic progress in 2006," it says.
The Iraqi Defense and Interior ministries were responsible for "serious" human rights violations, including severe beatings, electrocutions and sexual assaults, the report says.
The Afghan government has made "important" progress on the human rights front, but its performance "remained poor" last year, the report says.
It says there are persistent reports of "politically motivated or extrajudicial killings by the government or its agents," in addition to atrocities carried out by insurgents who killed more than 1,400 civilians in suicide attacks, roadside bombings and assassinations.
Also cited for democratic backsliding were U.S. allies Pakistan and Egypt, along with Belarus, China, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, where governments ignored the rights of citizens or failed to protect them.
Russia was criticized for its rights record in the republic of Chechnya and less than thorough inquiries in killings of government foes, including reform-minded officials and journalists.